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This Saturday's contest features two teams coming off season-opening wins. Portland State defeated Puget Sound 94-69 while Indiana rolled past Western Illinois 98-65.
Saturday's meeting marks the first time both programs will play each other. The game tips off at 2 p.m. EST at Simon Skjodt Assembly Arena.
The Vikings use intense defense to stifle opponentsAgainst Puget Sound, Portland State's defense was merciless, forcing 31 turnovers. They'll need to replicate this same intensity against an Indiana offense that has talented guard play and doesn't make many mistakes.
Speaking of talent, the Vikings possess plenty of it on the offensive end. In their first win of the season, five players scored 12 points or more. Leading the way was Sal Nuhu who was a force inside. Along with scoring 12 points, he added seven rebounds and six blocks. His presence, especially on the defensive end, will be needed against as they face an Indiana offense that at times features three forwards in the lineup.
Another area of emphasis for the Vikings concerns three-point shooting. While they were able to impose their will on Puget Sound, Indiana has the size and athleticism to challenge Portland State in the paint. So, when the opportunities arise, they must do a better job making shots from behind the arc.
Indiana is young and talentedIn the Hoosiers' first victory of the season, Indiana struggled to find its offensive rhythm initially before gaining some momentum in the second half for the victory. Against Portland State, they'll face a tenacious defense with ballhawks like Holland Woods who'll invade passing lanes for quick steals.
Look for players like Justin Smith and Al Durham to help settle the offense at a normal pace. As good as the Vikings were in their first game, Indiana has the athleticism and size to match up well against Portland State. This should help them control the pace.
Defensively, the Hoosiers have to play much better than they did in their first game where they allowed Western Illinois plenty of open shots. Luckily for them, they're facing a Vikings' offense that hasn't shown the ability to make perimeter shots consistently yet, so this plays into their strength.
Trends found on Covers.com Indiana is:
- 4-0 ATS against teams with a .600 winning percentage or higher
Portland State is
- 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Portland State's defense has the ability to challenge Indiana's offense initially. That said, as the game progresses, look for the Hoosiers to impose their will inside and when this succeeds, it'll open up scoring opportunities in the perimeter. Their interior presence will also help them defensively, as Portland State will find it difficult to score easy points in the paint. And given the Vikings' struggles so far in perimeter shooting, it could be difficult for them to keep pace. Indiana wins this easily.
Full-Game Total Pick
Portland State is 6-1 in the Under in their last seven games after scoring 90 points or more whereas Indiana is 4-1 in their last 5 games after scoring 90 or more. Because both teams feature intense defenses, this will stall the offenses at least in the first half, where both struggle to find their footing. As the game progresses, Indiana's big men will take over in the half-court and help the Hoosiers win in a lower-scoring contest.